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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

NCAA honors former student athletes at convention in Nashville

Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos
18 JAN 2017: The NCAA Honors Celebration takes place during the 2017 NCAA Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN. Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos

The NCAA recognized 19 individuals with awards Wednesday night as part of their annual Honors Celebration. The recipients ranged from recent graduates to sport and business legends, all of whom have made an impact in some way.

The event, which is part of the NCAA Convention, was held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, along with a variety of other sessions from Jan. 18-21. Representatives from all divisions of sports were in attendance. The Vanderbilt Spirit of Gold marching band opened the evening with a performance.

Jack Ford, who has spent many years on television at channels including NBC, ABC, ESPN and now CBS, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. NCAA President Mark Emmert made brief remarks before all of the awards were handed out.

The first set of honors, Today’s Top 10 Award, “recognizes student-athletes who completed their athletics eligibility during the 2015-2016 academic year for their success on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community,” according to the award description. The ten person class was highlighted by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who played at Mississippi State and led the Cowboys to the playoffs this season. Another standout was Taylor Ellis-Watson, who earned a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics as part of the United States 4×400 women’s relay team.

The Silver Anniversary Award “recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers” and was given to six individuals. Well known award winners this year included Ty Detmer, Alonzo Mourning and Troy Vincent. Detmer won the Heisman trophy as quarterback at BYU and then continued onto a 14 year NFL career. After a Hall of Fame career in the NBA, Mourning joined the Miami Heat front office, now serving as the Vice President of Player Programs. A former five time NFL Pro Bowler, Vincent served as the president of the NFLPA before his transition to his current position as the Vice President of Football Operations.

Three individual awards would highlight the success of student-athletes well beyond the field, including Pete Frates, Captain Flo Groberg and Beth Brooke-Marciniak. Each received a specific award for their contributions to society.

The NCAA awarded Frates, best known for his role in starting the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge sensation, with the Inspiration Award. It honors an individual involved with NCAA sports “who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event and now serves as a role model.” While he couldn’t be present at the ceremony, the NCAA, including Emmert, went to his hometown in Massachusetts to personally hand him his award. His father and brother were present in Nashville to speak on his behalf. He once played college baseball at Boston College and was diagnosed with ALS in 2012.

In November 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Cpt. Flo Groberg with the Medal of Honor for his heroism in Afghanistan during his time with the Army. Wednesday night, the NCAA presented him with the Award of Valor as he “averted or minimized potential disaster by courageous action or noteworthy bravery.” A former track and field athlete at the University of Maryland, he talked about his battle with PTSD and his efforts in helping veterans.

To close out the evening, the Theodore Roosevelt, the highest NCAA honor, was presented to Beth Brooke-Marciniak for being “a distinguished citizen of national reputation and outstanding accomplishment.” In her speech, she discussed how her time as a basketball player at Purdue helped guide her success at Ernst & Young, where she now serves as the Global Vice Chair of Public Policy. She mentioned Vanderbilt women’s basketball head coach towards the end of her speech, calling her a great example of somebody who has used their platform well to promote a positive message in collegiate athletics.

Full List of Award Winners:

Today’s Top 10 Award

Logan Andryk (Milwaukee School of Engineering)

Elizabeth Aronoff (Emory University)

Kendall Coyne (Northeastern University)

Taylor Ellis-Watson (University of Arkansas)

Nicole Hensley (Lindenwood University)

C.J. Krimbill (Case Western Reserve University)

Haylie McCleney (University of Alabama)

Tiffany Mitchell (University of South Carolina)

Dak Prescott (Mississippi State University)

Jason Vander Laan (Ferris State University)

Silver Anniversary Award 

Ty Detmer (Brigham Young University)

Alonzo Mourning (Georgetown University)

Susan Robinson Fruchtl (Pennsylvania State University)

Heather Taggart (University of Wisconsin)

Tommy Vardell (Stanford University)

Troy Vincent (University of Wisconsin)

Inspiration Award

Pete Frates (Boston College)

Award of Valor

Captain Flo Groberg (University of Maryland)

Theodore Roosevelt Award

Beth Brooke-Marciniak (Purdue University)

Photo provided by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos

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